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Music Makers

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Album Review

This is an unusual album, for it features the always flexible singer Helen Merrill and keyboardist Gordon Beck on six trios apiece with either soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy or violinist Stephane Grappelli. Most of the selections are standards (exceptions being Merrill's "Music Makers" and Beck's "And Still She Is With Me"), but all of the songs sound quite fresh, partly due to the unusual instrumentation and also partly because of the players' inventiveness. Highlights include "'Round Midnight" and "When Lights Are Low" (both of which include Lacy) and "A Girl In Calico" and "Lady Be Good" with Grappelli.

Biography

Born: 21 July 1930 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A fine singer with a warm, expressive voice, Helen Merrill's infrequent recordings tend to be quite special with plenty of surprises and chance-taking. She started singing in public in 1944 and was with the Reggie Childs Orchestra during 1946-1947. Merrill, who was married for a period to clarinetist Aaron Sachs, had opportunities to sit in with some of the top modernists of the time, including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Bud Powell. She was with Earl Hines in 1952 and started recording regularly...
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Music Makers, Helen Merrill
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